Avoid Four Hour Board Meetings

June 2018

Long board meetings are an indication that something is amiss with your condo board.

Board meetings are not social events.  They should focus on action and avoid unnecessary conversation.

Overly long board meetings likely result from unnecessary discussions about issues for which directors lack knowledge or expertise.  This includes commentary on engineering issues and financial planning where none have the requisite expertise to speak with authority on such matters.

Effective board meetings remain focused on problems and their resolution.

Where decisions are difficult and information is lacking, people like to talk.  This is easier than taking action and being accountable for decisions.

Most agenda items come down to three considerations:

  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?
  • What information is needed to make a decision?
  • How can the information be obtained?

Superfluous conversation provides little of value.  Good decisions require a proper evaluation of the situation by someone with experience.  Decisions made without some level of experience are ill advised.

If the problem is water infiltration, it is likely that no board member has the expertise to address the issue.  It makes more sense to bring in qualified expertise and have them report their findings to the board.  This requires that directors, or management, speak with the right people.  These individuals may be board members, building residents, condominium manager or external expertise.

Directors should focus on obtaining the expertise to obtain desired information.  External expertise can and should be directed to provide options and a specific recommendation for directors to consider.

Once desired information has been obtained directors are in a position to consider tangible implications.  There are only three possible options to consider.

  1. What happens if we do nothing? What are the short- and long-term implications?
  2. What happens if we repair the damaged system or rectify a perceived problem? What are the short- and long-term implications?
  3. What happens if we replace a damaged system? What are the short- and long-term implications?

Directors that focus on making decisions and moving to the next matter make more efficient use of limited board meeting time.  They avoid discussing hypotheticals with or among people unqualified to provide recommendations for a solution.  Their primary interest is to obtain real information, rather than opinions, as early as possible and then make a decision.